Infotainment Factory: How 'idiots' ruined Alonso's Indy500 bid

Trending

>

Post Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

How 'idiots' ruined Alonso's Indy500 bid


//

The full extent of McLaren’s embarrassing attempt to qualify for the Indy500 has come to light, with CEO Zak Brown revealing the team didn’t even realise until the last minute that Fernando Alonso’s car didn’t have a steering wheel.

In what has turned into one of the more farcical events in the famous team’s storied history, Alonso was bumped from the Indy500 field on Monday morning, finishing qualifying in 34th spot for the 33-car race.

Brown has acknowledged the team was hopelessly unprepared for their tilt at the race, with Head of Operations, Bob Fernley, departing the team just hours after Alonso failed to qualify, although the CEO denies he was fired.

Alonso needs to win the Indy500 to claim motorsport’s Triple Crown – the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 hours and Indy500. Graham Hill is the only driver in history to have completed the treble, winning all three races between 1963-1972.

“I don’t think we came into this arrogant, I think we were unprepared,” Brown told the Associated Press.

“We didn’t deserve to be in the race and it’s our own fault. It’s not like we showed up and gave our best. We defeated ourselves.”

Fernando Alonso has failed to qualify for the Indy500.

Brown confirmed the campaign was in trouble as far back as a test session in Texas in early April. Half the day was lost with niggling issues, and Brown himself had had to intervene to secure a steering wheel.

“We didn’t get out until midday, our steering wheel was not done on time, that’s just lack of preparation and project management organisational skills,” Brown said.

“That’s where this whole thing fell down, in the project management. Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels.”

To add to the farce, when Alonso crashed heavily during practice at Indianapolis, his backup car was in a paint shop some 30 minutes away, unusable. A month earlier the team had complained it was not the correct shade of “McLaren orange”, and the re-painting had still not been completed when Alonso put his primary car into the wall.

While other teams were able to switch to their backup cars in hours, Alonso lost almost two days of valuable track time while the backup car was prepared.

But the mistakes didn’t end there. Alonso’s first qualifying run was compromised by a tyre puncture, which wasn’t picked up because the team had purchased incorrect sensors.

Fernando Alonso's Indy campaign was doomed from the start.

When the Spaniard took to the track on Sunday morning, prior to the “Last Row Shootout,” his car was far too low and trailed a shower of sparks behind it. That turned out to be another amateur mistake, the result of an error converting inches to centimetres.

The final insult come after Alonso had been bumped from the field, with the team discovering the car had the wrong gear ratios. Had the correct ratios been installed, it’s likely Alonso would have qualified.

“We actually had a 229 (mph) car but we had 227.5 gearing, so we beat ourselves again while we almost made it,” Brown said.

“We really did put it all on the line and you could feel the anxiety. There was some real heroism in that. I don’t want the world to think McLaren is a bunch of idiots because while we did have a few, we had some real stars.”

Brown now has the task of sifting through the ruins and deciding what path McLaren will follow. A two-car assault on the season-long IndyCar series is still a possibility, an option that was rejected for 2019 in favour of a one-off appearance at Indianapolis. Australia’s Will Power has previously been mentioned as a possible driver should McLaren go down this route.

Regardless, Brown expects to return to Indy in 2020.

“I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down. We didn’t fulfil our promise and I think they need more than just an apology,” Brown said.

“There will be repercussions for those who don’t deserve to work for a great team like McLaren. We will look at what we learned here and the list is a mile long. I hope people appreciate that we go for it, we are racers, and Fernando is a star and we are not quitters. We want to come back.”

The full extent of McLaren’s embarrassing attempt to qualify for the Indy500 has come to light, with CEO Zak Brown revealing the team didn’t even realise until the last minute that Fernando Alonso’s car didn’t have a steering wheel.

In what has turned into one of the more farcical events in the famous team’s storied history, Alonso was bumped from the Indy500 field on Monday morning, finishing qualifying in 34th spot for the 33-car race.

Brown has acknowledged the team was hopelessly unprepared for their tilt at the race, with Head of Operations, Bob Fernley, departing the team just hours after Alonso failed to qualify, although the CEO denies he was fired.

Alonso needs to win the Indy500 to claim motorsport’s Triple Crown – the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 hours and Indy500. Graham Hill is the only driver in history to have completed the treble, winning all three races between 1963-1972.

“I don’t think we came into this arrogant, I think we were unprepared,” Brown told the Associated Press.

“We didn’t deserve to be in the race and it’s our own fault. It’s not like we showed up and gave our best. We defeated ourselves.”

Fernando Alonso has failed to qualify for the Indy500.

Brown confirmed the campaign was in trouble as far back as a test session in Texas in early April. Half the day was lost with niggling issues, and Brown himself had had to intervene to secure a steering wheel.

“We didn’t get out until midday, our steering wheel was not done on time, that’s just lack of preparation and project management organisational skills,” Brown said.

“That’s where this whole thing fell down, in the project management. Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels.”

To add to the farce, when Alonso crashed heavily during practice at Indianapolis, his backup car was in a paint shop some 30 minutes away, unusable. A month earlier the team had complained it was not the correct shade of “McLaren orange”, and the re-painting had still not been completed when Alonso put his primary car into the wall.

While other teams were able to switch to their backup cars in hours, Alonso lost almost two days of valuable track time while the backup car was prepared.

But the mistakes didn’t end there. Alonso’s first qualifying run was compromised by a tyre puncture, which wasn’t picked up because the team had purchased incorrect sensors.

Fernando Alonso's Indy campaign was doomed from the start.

When the Spaniard took to the track on Sunday morning, prior to the “Last Row Shootout,” his car was far too low and trailed a shower of sparks behind it. That turned out to be another amateur mistake, the result of an error converting inches to centimetres.

The final insult come after Alonso had been bumped from the field, with the team discovering the car had the wrong gear ratios. Had the correct ratios been installed, it’s likely Alonso would have qualified.

“We actually had a 229 (mph) car but we had 227.5 gearing, so we beat ourselves again while we almost made it,” Brown said.

“We really did put it all on the line and you could feel the anxiety. There was some real heroism in that. I don’t want the world to think McLaren is a bunch of idiots because while we did have a few, we had some real stars.”

Brown now has the task of sifting through the ruins and deciding what path McLaren will follow. A two-car assault on the season-long IndyCar series is still a possibility, an option that was rejected for 2019 in favour of a one-off appearance at Indianapolis. Australia’s Will Power has previously been mentioned as a possible driver should McLaren go down this route.

Regardless, Brown expects to return to Indy in 2020.

“I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down. We didn’t fulfil our promise and I think they need more than just an apology,” Brown said.

“There will be repercussions for those who don’t deserve to work for a great team like McLaren. We will look at what we learned here and the list is a mile long. I hope people appreciate that we go for it, we are racers, and Fernando is a star and we are not quitters. We want to come back.”

http://bit.ly/2HuXcYQ
//

No comments:

Post a Comment